Is the 99 Cent Amazon Fire Phone Worth It?

Published on October 15, 2014

The 99 cent Amazon Fire phone is no myth. A day prior to the iPhone 6 release, Amazon dropped their $199 launch price to a mere 99 cents (with a 2 year AT&T contract).

So far, it doesn't seem like the price cut has done much good. Sales have been incredibly low, estimated to have sold a mere 35,000 units.

It also appears that even loyal Amazon users aren't interested in the phone. In a recent CIRP survey of 500 Amazon Prime customers, absolutely none of them said they owned a Fire Phone. Are they interested just in services and not hardware? It doesn't seem that way, as CIRP also found that, "approximately one quarter of U.S. Amazon customers have either or both of a Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle Reader, and about 5% report owning the new Amazon Fire TV set-top box." 

So what's the deal? Why aren't users taking the bait? Here are the positive and negatives of the Amazon Fire phone we've seen so far.

Amazon Fire Phone Features

    • 4.7 inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution (which is an average display at best)
    • 32/64 GB memory options
    • Layered glass, front and back
    • Dynamic Perspective cameras on all 4 corners of the phone (creates 3D effect)
  • Firefly: an app which couples with the Dynamic Perspective cameras which scan physical objects and provide links to buy them on Amazon
  • Gesture-based movement between screens (instead of a "back button")
  • Basic camera functions (Panorama, lenticular, HDR, front-facing, low-light function)

The good?

  • Now that the price has dropped, it is an economically-friendly phone
  • 3D visuals
  • Fresh OS design
  • Good for one-handed operation
  • Strong integration with Amazon services
  • Free Amazon Prime membership with purchase of the phone

The not-so-good?

  • It's exclusive only to AT&T, and requires a 2 year contract
  • Special features are gimmicky at best, and don't seem to improve the basic functionality of the phone
  • Most all aspects of the phone (body, display, camera) are average at best in comparison to other smartphones on the market
  • Less extensive app store
  • Less extensive service experience
  • Disappointing battery life

The bottom line?

If you are an all-Amazon-all-the-time kind of person, this phone may be a good option for you. It is economically sound, and has some interesting new features. However, its functionality is average at best when compared to other models on the market, and its flexibility (especially when compared to Android phones) is poor.

To check the phone out for yourself, take a look at this page. Maybe it is a good fit for your lifestyle!